As we approach Savannah's municipal election Nov. 3, the Savannah Morning News has been talking with the candidates for the City Council and Mayor. The two candidates for Alderman-at-Large post 1, incumbent Carol Bell and Linda Wilder-Bryan, talked about their priorities for Savannah.
"I am just appalled by the crime problem. The difficulty about the crisis we are facing, for the most part, it's person-against-person crimes. These are not random types of incidents, which makes it extremely difficult to tackle. And I would like to see the council as well as the community become more involved in addressing some of the root causes. I think it's important for us to collaborate with the board of education and address the kids."
On getting things done on the City Council:
"Unlike zero-based budgeting, each new administration doesn't wipe the slate clean and start from scratch. It's sometimes hard to change people's minds in mid-stream. I won't cite specific projects. I will just say that was part of the learning process. The great takeaway for me has been to start early. I think I have been able to form some relationships with my colleagues. I would like to think they know what some of my strong suits are, and I know what some of their passions are so that helps in terms of moving forward."
"I would like to see the city develop relationships with, not just Savannah Tech, but with the local unions. They do some very structured training. So we might be able to partner with them and try to make sure we are training workers for the workforce. I think we're missing a major resource by not using the unions here. And they volunteered to enter into some relationships like that."
"I'm wanting to make sure the police officers get a higher pay grade. That we recruit officers that are already trained. I believe when they hire these new officers they should have mandatory sensitivity and diversity training. You have to know how to speak to people. You can't make assumptions. I know if a threat is there then you have to protect yourself, but just because you see somebody with some saggy pants and a white shirt, how do you automatically say that's a threat?"
On city investments:
"I do believe in affordable living, but what about these houses that are condemned? Why don't we train people to fix those houses up right now and put families in them. Three million [for the fairground purchase.] Do you know how many houses they could have bought that are already here? You're giving people an opportunity to have ownership. You're invested in a community."
On reducing poverty:
"With maritime trade being part of the most productive city in our state, the inner city youth have not been introduced to the science, technology, engineering and mathematics program. We need training so when jobs do become available, they're ready."